Quilt as you go with sashing can be a neat way of joining your quilt blocks together while saving yourself the trouble of trying to quilt a large quilt in a domestic sewing machine. For this quilt I have used sashing on both the front and back of the quilt. It is more testing that just having sashing on the front because you have to be more careful with your measurements so that your sashing is in line both on the front and the back. This definitely hasn’t been one of my neatest projects, but I’ll try and show how I could have done things better as I go along.
I’ve used the crazy house quilt block – also known as the Z Cross block – and I have made four of the blocks, using mainly 3.1/2″ squares with 2.1/2″ strips for the sashing. The quilt has a stunning array of secondary designs, which I’m really pleased with. It measures 36″ square and I have used 1/2 yard each of purple, dark brown and white fabric, with 3/4 yard of blue and light brown. This is for everything – backing and binding included.
3.1/2″ squares: sixteen purple, sixteen dark brown, sixteen white, twenty blue
3.7/8″ squares: eight each in purple and white, eight each in dark brown and white
2.1/2″ squares: nine blue for the cornerstones
2.1/2″ by 15.1/2″ strips for sashing: twenty light brown
2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric: four blue for the binding
20″ squares: four blue for the backing, four wadding
Making the crazy house quilt block
Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles. Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line to give two half square triangle units which are 3.1/2″ squares. Make these in the colour combinations listed above for 3.7/8″ squares.
Lay the squares out in five rows of five for each crazy house quilt block. The blue 3.1/2″ squares form a cross in the middle. Each corner has two squares and two half square triangles in either brown or purple, arranged in a sort of Z pattern and there is a white square in the middle of each edge. Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other. Make four of these blocks.
Quilt as you go technique – Layering each quilt block
Lay a backing fabric square with right side down. Place a wadding square on top and a crazy house quilt block with right side up. Pin the layers together. Quilt to within an inch or two of the edge of the block. You need to leave at least 1″ unquilted so that you can separate the layers out to sew sashing to individual layers. I have quilted V’s in the cross which shows up better in the video than it does in the photo, and I have used meander quilting outside the cross because that was the easiest option given that I had to leave the edges free. This is the basis of quilt as you go.
Mark a line along the middle of the block in both directions – side to side and up and down. This is to help with the measurements for cutting the wadding and backing. At the edge of the block you will be able to flip over and make a mark in the same place on the backing so that you can draw the same two lines on the back of each block.
The blocks are sewn together in a rotation so that you always have a dark brown Z in the middle. Arrange your blocks in this way before you go any further so that you know which edge to trim first.
Measure and make two marks 8.1/2″ from the middle of the block on one edge of each quilt block. These edges will be the inner seams of the quilt – they will not be the same edge on each block. These marks will be on the wadding about 3/4″ beyond the edge of the patchwork. As you can see, you need your ruler horizontal to make the two marks, and then turn your ruler to the vertical to draw a line in the vertical direction using those two marks to make sure your line is in line. Cut along this line.
Flip the quilt block so that you can work on the backing fabric. Mark a line 7.3/4″ from the centre line and cut along that line. You should now have the backing fabric and the patchwork the same size as each other, with the wadding sticking out 3/4″ beyond them.
Quilt as you go method – Sewing the blocks together
With the patchwork facing you, fold the wadding and backing fabric away and sew a sashing strip to the edge of the first quilt block. That’s down the right hand side in the photo.
Place another sashing strip on the backing fabric. Fold the sashing to find its centre and then line up the centre of the sashing strip with the centre of the quilt block edge. Sew in place.
Sew the sashing to a second quilt block. Place the two blocks with right sides together, the wadding and backing folded back from both of them. Make two pairs of quilt blocks. Each pair of blocks is now joined by the sashing on the front.
Lay the pair of blocks with right side down. The wadding should just meet in the middle. Trim it if it doesn’t so that there is no overlap causing bumps. Flip the sashing strip across the join to the second quilt block. Turn under a 1/4″ hem and sew in place. I used a zigzag machine stitch. That was my first mistake – I should have hand stitched them as I usually do for quilt as you go. It’s more easy to ease the fabric when hand sewing, and it doesn’t show on the front of the quilt block.
Joining the pairs of quilt as you go blocks
Join the two pairs of blocks together in the same way as for the individual blocks. Measure 8.1/2″ from the centre of the patchwork block and cut along that line – it’s just a longer line this time. Trim the backing fabric 7.3/4″ from the centre. The sashing strip is made by sewing a 15.1/2″ brown strip either side of a blue 2.1/2″ square. Sew this to one edge of the pair of blocks. Pin the blue cornerstone to the sashing between the blocks first and then pin out to each side.
Place the other pair of blocks on top with right sides together and sew the sashing to the second pair of blocks, joining the two pairs. Repeat with the sashing on the backs of the pairs of quilt blocks. I think that this quilt as you go pattern is one where you definitely might find the video helpful if my instructions here don’t seem clear. The link to the video is at the bottom of the page.
Quilt as you go tutorial – Sashing for the borders
The sashing going round the outside of the quilt is sewn on with slightly different measurements. For these remaining four edges, cut the wadding along a line 9.3/4″ from the middle of the block. The backing fabric is still cut along a line 7.3/4″ from the centre of the backing square. For the top and bottom of the quilt, the sashing is made from two brown strips and one blue square the same as the strip between the two pairs of quilt as you go blocks.
For the sashing down the sides of the quilt, the sashing needs to have an additional blue square at each end, so that the sashing strip is made with three blue squares and two brown strips.
How could I have improved my quilt as you go quilt?
I was disappointed with the initial look of my quilt, so here are some of my thoughts on it.
First off, remember the saying: measure twice and cut once. My measuring obviously wasn’t as accurate as I thought it was.
As already mentioned, I wish I had handsewn the final seam on the sashing strips on the backing instead of machine sewing. A walking foot would have helped, but I still think that nothing beats hand sewing for that stage of quilt as you go.
Having ended up with bumpy sashing, dense quilting can work wonders. You can see from the two photos above how much flatter dense quilting can make the quilt look. Not ideal, but an improvement.
I have to say, though, that I love the quilt pattern even if my technique did let me down this week!
Here’s the video: